Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is often characterized by the presence of specific, recurrent chromosomal abnormalities. One of the most common aberrations, inversion of chromosome 16 [inv(16)], generates the fusion oncogene CBFB-MYH11. Previously, we used a mouse knock-in model to show that Cbfb-MYH11 induces changes in gene expression and results in the accumulation of abnormal myeloid cells, a subset of which are enriched for leukemia stem cell (LSC) activity. One gene upregulated by Cbfb-MYH11 encodes the cytokine receptor IL1RL1 (ST2). IL1RL1 and its ligand IL-33 are known regulators of mature myeloid cells, but their roles in AML are not known. Here, we use Cbfb-MYH11 knock-in mice to show that IL1RL1 is expressed by cell populations with high LSC activity, and that the cell surface expression of IL1RL1 is dynamic, implying that the expression of IL1RL1 is not restricted to a specific stage of differentiation. We also show that treatment with IL-33 increased serial replating ability and expression of pro-survival proteins in vitro. Finally, we show that IL1RL1 + cells can survive chemotherapy better than IL1RL1 − cells in vivo. Collectively, our results indicate that IL1RL1 is dynamically expressed in Cbfb-MYH11 + leukemia cells and promotes their survival.
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